Podcast – CX Champions | Season 4 – Episode 5

HubSpot’s CX Evolution: A Conversation with Nicholas Holland, VP of Product

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Episode summary

This episode features an interview with Nicholas Holland, VP of Product and GM of Marketing Product Lines at HubSpot, a leading CRM platform that provides software and support to help businesses grow better. Nicholas shares insights from his eight-year tenure at HubSpot and his entrepreneurial journey, emphasizing the importance of empathy, observation, and adaptability in CX. The conversation highlights how CX evolves in diverse environments and the necessity of innovating and reimagining customer interactions in a digital world. They delve into the dynamics of customer satisfaction versus loyalty, the transformation of HubSpot into a multi-product, multi-persona platform, and the impact of AI and data on future CX strategies. Nicholas also reflects on personal anecdotes, illustrating how CX principles translate into everyday life and the lessons learned from entrepreneurial endeavors.

About the guest

Nicholas Holland is VP of Product and GM of Marketing Product Lines at HubSpot. He has been with the company for over 8 years, having started in October 2015 as Director of Labs. Prior to HubSpot, Nicholas served as President and Founder of boutique consultancy CentreSource Inc., providing product management & custom web/mobile applications. He also founded startup Populr, which allows users to create trackable, secure, & highly engaging micro-sites in a matter of minutes. Populr was then sold to Nashville-based nonprofit, Kindful.

Key quotes

*”The whole gist for all CX people would be, ‘Are they happy at the end of it?’ And then ‘Are you flexible enough to kind of understand the audience and ebb and flow with them?’”

*”If you ever watched The Matrix, I love the little kid who’s like, ‘The trick is there is no spoon,’ which is like a fancy way of saying, ‘Stop thinking in the constraints that you have and start thinking about the why behind the why, as Simon Sinek would call, ‘What’s the big picture?’ And I think those kinds of things really become powerful ways to look at CX.”

*”If your job is CX and you’re just happy punching eight to five every day, and you’ll make incremental changes, that’s fine. But you’ll wonder why you didn’t get your senior CX promotion or why you’re not a director yet. But whenever you realize that there’s no spoon, you realize what you’re trying to do is really push that higher ROI. You’re trying to make a real impact there. Some neat stuff can pop out. So that’s where it started to happen for me.”

*”CX is happening, whether you’re conscious of it or not, whether you curate it or not, whether you’re actively involved or not.”

*”Mind the gap. We make all of these big, intuitive assumptions that people know what we’re talking about. So when you say, ‘Mind the gap,’ you’re walking people through very, very specific steps. So what I often tell people to do is just start somewhere, and start to walk through every step. ‘I think they’ll do this, I think they’ll do that.’ And when you do that, you start off with who it is, a persona, you start somewhere. And then you have a fascinating question: What came before, what came after?”

*”I think right now, what we’re trying to balance is as you get to a certain size, how do you basically get PMs with their PDs to be very dedicated to the experience of their customer? But also how do they look up and have connective tissue that shows them, going back to the mind the gap, what came before and what comes next? And that’s going to be the challenge, I think, for a lot of companies.”

*”You have to get close to the product yourself. You then get to look at some activation and usage data. You then get to look very specifically at the most important flows with CSAT. And then you get to go look at a variety of listening posts to see what is the world at large saying on social media? What’s your sales team saying? What’s your service team saying? And that gives you a good sense of how the product’s doing.”

Time stamps

[0:53] Meet Nicholas Holland: HubSpot’s VP of Product

[1:16] The Essence of Customer Experience

[5:27] Nicholas’s Journey from Finance to CX Innovator

[6:02] Entrepreneurial Insights and the CX Mindset

[14:53] The Complexities of Customer Experience Design

[17:41] Nicholas’s Entrepreneurial Ventures and Lessons Learned

[25:06] Unveiling the Essence of Customer Needs: A Real-World Story

[26:19] A Wake-Up Call: The Importance of User Experience

[27:00] Lessons Learned: The Journey to Customer Loyalty

[28:46] Embracing a New Chapter: Joining HubSpot

[33:24] The Evolution of Customer Experience at HubSpot

[43:57] The Future of CX: Innovations and Challenges Ahead

[46:37] Personal Insights: Learning CX from Everyday Life

Thanks to our friends

This podcast is brought to you by HGS. HGS is a digital customer experience leader dedicated to delivering winning customer interactions at scale that are prompt, personal, and positive. We continuously transform, optimize, and grow enterprises to exceed ever-rising customer expectations. HGS provides our clients with the right talent and technologies needed to champion every moment. Learn more at hgs.cx